Nanakuli to Kaena Point

by kenji SAITO on November 11, 2021

Hiking Nanakuli to Kaena Point

Chris, Ferlino and myself decided to traverse the entire Waianae Mountain Range this Veteran’s Day Weekend. From the other side.

Nanakuli Valley

Nanakuli Valley

Day 1

Thanks to Jasmin for dropping us in the kiawe infested valley.

Nanakuli Valley

Nanakuli Valley

The chilly morning was soon replaced by the heat and humidity of the valley as we made the short and stiff climb to gain the ridge line. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Escaping the oppressive sauna box as we gained the ridge line. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Standing out on the rocky ridge line. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Looking back as the rising sun torched the top of Heleakala ridge. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Climbing up the exposed ridge to gain the shade of the forested canopy at the top. Photo by Chris Bautista

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Looking back over into the largest coastal valley on the island that is also home to two of the tallest antenna towers in the Western hemisphere. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Nanakuli Ridge

Nanakuli Ridge

Chris coming up the sweaty hill.

Palehua

Palehua

Running across one of many military or government structures that dot the island.

Palehua

Palehua

Ferlino making good use of his hiking poles on the paved road. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Palehua

Palehua

What many call the “official” start or end of the Waianae Summit Trail.

Palehua

Palehua

Chris rolling through the Indiana Jones boulders after passing Mauna Kapu which once had a heiau at the point. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Palehua

Palehua

Ferlino overlooking the valley views. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Palehua

Palehua

Going up the staircase after we passed an area rich in endemic fauna and flora. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Palikea

Palikea

Group photo at the 3,098′ ti leaf summit.

Heleakala

Heleakala

Looking at the ridge that descends to the “Hawaiian Pyramid.” Photo by Chris Bautista.

Waianae Summit Trail (WST)

Waianae Summit Trail (WST)

Awash in a sea of uluhe ferns, clawing and scratching us as we went down.

WST

WST

Following the fenced ridge as we lost some of the elevation we had just gained.

WST

WST

Treading softly on the mossy corridor. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Getting ready to drop into the pass. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Come on down and join the fun!

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Climbing down the 80′ cliff. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Ferlino finally getting to climb the pass after so many missed attempts.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Chris about to climb off the pass.

WST

WST

Ferlino climbing up the crack.

WST

WST

Back on the ridge line to have the sun shining down on our sweaty faces. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

We still had a little more rock climbing and scrambling ahead of us. Nothing to break a sweat over. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Chris pulling himself up and around a rock blocking the ridge line.

WST

WST

Nature’s rock climbing gym. Free. Just pay with your sweat and hopefully no blood.

WST

WST

Putting distance between us and the imposing and intimidating pass. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Climbing over the fence to continue our climb along the rocky ridge line.

Camp Kaua

Camp Kaua

We set up camp at the 3,127′ grassy summit.

Camp Kaua

Camp Kaua

Watching the sunset. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Camp Kaua

Camp Kaua

Good night from the third highest peak on the island.

Pu'u Kaua

Pu’u Kaua

Day 2

We broke down camp and welcomed the second day of our hike.

WST

WST

Some people had to take the harder way instead of the contour. To each their own.

WST

WST

Ferlino climbing his way down to the first obstacle. Sliding down works as well. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Chris climbing down the rockface.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Looking at the backside of the larger of the gorilla head obstacles. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Ferlino climbing up and over the boulder.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Going down the frontside of the crumbly rockface. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Watching Chris and Ferlino making their way down.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Chris the Redeemer and a photobomber on the smaller rockface. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

WST

WST

O Tannenbaum. 42 days to be exact. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Approaching the summit of Kanehoa.

WST

WST

Scrambling over the rocky section after we left the 2,778′ summit.

Pu'u Hapapa

Pu’u Hapapa

Group photo on the squared off pad with wrap around views of the island. I have it on good authority that the actual 2,883′ summit was more up the hill.

Pu'u Hapapa

Pu’u Hapapa

Enjoying the coastal views below from the pallet runway. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Pu'u Hapapa

Pu’u Hapapa

Taking shelter from the brutal afternoon sun where we took a short nap.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

We woke up refreshed and resumed our hike down the ubiquitous fence line.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Going down the exposed and rocky ridge. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Ferlino approaching the second notch.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Panoramic views from the top of the notch. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Descending down towards the larger notch.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Looking back at the sheer cliff. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Sliding our way down through the stand of paperbark trees. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Hapapa Trail

Hapapa Trail

Ferlino checking out a possible camp site. It was rejected for not meeting milspecs.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

We set up camp at the lowest point in the Waiane Mountain Range. Thanks to Chris who met Mia down the road to pick up our doordash delivery from Popeye’s.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

Day 3

We broke down camp as a steady stream of hikers started to show up. Mahalo to CJ for bringing us unexpected breakfast and other goodies.

Kolekole Pass Rock

Kolekole Pass Rock

It’s hard to find a person to play the victim in a realistic manner.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

Who brought the metal detector? I guess we have to tread softly.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Going up the stiff and eroded climb as the sun broke over the mountains behind us.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

A military geocache that has seen better days. Time for a new ammo can. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Hiking on the ridge line with the hazy mountains behind us. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Scrambling up the narrow rock dike. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Clear views of both of our destinations – Kalena and Ka’ala, the two highest peaks on the island. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Enjoying the morning mountain views. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Chris traversing another narrow dike on the trail. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Ferlino passing sexxxy ridge as he followed the fence line. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Star Trek

Star Trek

Live long and prosper. Man down. The search for more cardio. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kalena Trail

Kalena Trail

Hiking up the final and steep climb to the 3,504′ summit. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Pu'u Kalena

Pu’u Kalena

Group photo at the second highest peak on the island.

Pu'u Kalena

Pu’u Kalena

Chris enjoying the shade from the sun on the moss carpeted ohia tree.

WST

WST

We ran into two other hikers, Takashi and Susy, coming from the other direction.

WST

WST

Chris and Ferlino contouring up the ridge line.

WST

WST

Climbing in and out of the split fence line.

Hobbs

Hobbs

Resting before the final leg to the highest peak on the island.

WST

WST

Pushing through the thick and thorny overgrowth. Punctures for days.

WST

WST

Somebody didn’t let the weight of the hike crush his spirit.

WST

WST

I didn’t know this swing determines if you are a goat or monkey. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

Going up the steep and moss slicked boulders.

WST

WST

Pulling myself up. It was rather taxing I must admit. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

Wandering through the misty rainforest home to endemic fauna and flora.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

Meeting up with the boardwalk. We have no dogs. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

Ferlino approaching the 4,025′ summit and radar installation.

Camp Ka'ala

Camp Ka’ala

Bench with a view.

Camp Ka'ala

Camp Ka’ala

We set up camp after a worker nearby told us to be careful and spun some supernatural stories about this area. Sleep tight and don’t let the ghosts bite. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Mount Ka'ala

Mount Ka’ala

Day 4

We woke up and broke down camp after a ghost free experience on the highest peak on the island. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Mount Ka'ala

Mount Ka’ala

Looking back at the red blinking lights of the radar installation.

Mount Ka'ala

Mount Ka’ala

Walking down the road with the twinkling city lights of Waialua and Haleiwa in front of us. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Mount Ka'ala

Mount Ka’ala

Chris checking out the secret route to Stairway to Heaven. Hush hush.

Mount Ka'ala

Mount Ka’ala

Only one way traffic on the road this morning. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

WST

WST

Leaving the road and going up the steep flank of the ridge. Photo by Chris Bautista.

WST

WST

The fence line served as our navigational aid in the dense sea of uluhe overgrowth.

Three Corners

Three Corners

Chris checking out the valley views of Makaha and Makua in front of him, Mokuleia was behind him. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

WST

WST

Leaving the roughly 2,800′ hill as we followed the fence through dips and peaks along the way.

Makua Valley

Makua Valley

Looking down into the valley where ancient Hawaiians believed man was first created. The original inhabitants were slowly driven out by the roaming cattle from nearby ranches and then completely evicted by the US military who wanted the verdant valley home to three temples and other endemic fauna and flora for bombing practice. The lease is set to expire in 2029. Let’s see if the land is returned as promised by the US military.

WST

WST

Contouring off the ridge where we passed a snail habitat and a spread of blue flags denoting endemic plants.

WST

WST

Back on the exposed fenced ridge line with coastal, valley and mountain views.

WST

WST

Ferlino was too busy hiking to enjoy the splendid views of Makua Valley.

WST

WST

Chris walking down the trail to connect to the jeep road.

WST

WST

I flagged down one of the many 4×4 trucks driving on the road to see if any kind souls would sell us some ice cold soda. Shout out to the lovely couple that gave me a can of sparkling water to be split three ways. A cold beverage on a hot day on a dusty road never tasted so good.

WST

WST

Leaving the jeep road. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Can somebody get me a soda? Sorry, Chris was only making hot Korean ramen. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Chris and Ferlino making their way through the pine forests and towards where I was sitting on top of the dodo rock.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Heading to the Makua Rim trail.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Where are those 4×4’s when you need them?

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Taking a short break underneath the picnic shelter before our final push to the end. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Enjoying the wide open trail while we can.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

In search of a suitable trail. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Trying to stay on the off-beaten track is always a challenge.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Putting the bushwhacking behind us.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Straying off the off-beaten track after we lost the stalking truck.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Our ten minutes of stress induced anxiety were finally over.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Chris overlooking the westernmost point on the island, a place that ancient Hawaiians called the “leaping place for the souls.”

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Ferlino coming down from the mountain.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Looking out towards the ocean where a little known volcano, Kaena, sank over two million years ago. Kaena along with Waianae and Ko’olau helped to create the island of Oahu. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Group photo celebrating our first, third and eighth time finishing the entire Waianae Summit Trail. This also marked my twenty-first cumulative completions of both the KST and WST. 21 for 2021. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Somebody could already taste the ice cold soda coming down the grassy and rocky ridge.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Thanks to Art, Lilyn and Quan for meeting us with cold carbonated beverages at the base of the ridge. It’s the little things that can pick you up after a long weekend. Photo by Quan Haberstroh.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Hiking our way back over the two mile long trail that follows remnants of railroad tracks and home to cliffs harboring tidepools, arches and abandoned vehicles.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

No green flash for us, but the sunset was still striking.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Obviously the coordination to pull off a triple champagne dousing was a little beyond us. But everybody still got wet. Photo by Jasmin Carinio.

Electric Beach

Electric Beach

Plenty thanks as well to Aida, Jasmin, Marilyn and Tessa for joining us with enough delicious food to whet our caloric deficit. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

All pau

All pau

Our bellies were full and our hearts content. Thanks again to everybody that came out and supported us. Much mahalos!

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our original three day hike turned four day hike due to technical difficulties covered 28.6 miles through the entire Waianae Summit Trail. The hike was filled with soaring temperatures, rough terrain and unmatched views. Best of all, it was done with and the support from great friends.

Note: I have been made aware that some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers.

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ferlino January 2, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Thank you so much Kenji Saito for not giving up on me and mush encouragement. Kambata ???? I’m forever grateful.

Reply

kenji SAITO January 2, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Aloha Ferlino,
You’re welcome! Like I said, we started together and we will end it together. Glad we all finished together safe and sound!
Mahalo

Reply

Takashi January 7, 2022 at 3:32 pm

Hi Kenji, it was great to see you guys on the trail!
Wow… quite a journey. I thought next day we met was rain but glad it looked hold off. Nice write-up as always.

Reply

kenji SAITO January 8, 2022 at 8:00 am

Aloha Takashi,
Thanks. It was a pleasant surprise to see you guys on the trail as well. Happy trails.
Mahalo

Reply

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